ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA)- If someone’s family doesn’t come to get them when they die, the Anderson County Coroner’s Office says they’re taken to a storage room.
“Our current policy is we hold for a year. That gives people time, but we also spend a tremendous amount of time trying to locate family,” Anderson County Coroner Don McCown said.
This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the family doesn’t have the money for a funeral.
McCown said, “There’s also people that had money, just nobody is left. There’s no family left to take care of it, and then of course we have people that are just unclaimed, that have died here in our county, but nobody ever knows where they came from, where they were going or what.”
After a year, they’re officially deemed unclaimed.
However, the coroner’s office says they didn’t have a way to properly memorialize their lives for years.
“The county was in a pickle back in 2013. We filled up what’s called the Paupers Cemetery, which means we just didn’t have enough room. So, we were trying to find a way to honor people,” McCown said.
Until recently, when the Anderson Memorial Wall was born.
“I think we can’t forget in our society that we have compassion for people,” McCown said.
Each plaque represents someone who died in Anderson County but was never given a funeral.
“Anderson County I think stepped up a little bit further than that saying we’re not only going to take care of you when you’re alive but also when you’re dead. I think that’s extremely important that we don’t forget people in our community regardless of the circumstances.”
Right behind the wall is a fenced-in area, where the coroner’s office has spread some of those people’s ashes.
“Their souls have been set free. They’re not in a container anymore. They’re out here in this nice area and they’re memorialized on our Anderson Memorial Wall,” McCown said.
The coroner’s office says they still have 35 plaques to put up on the wall, and will do so over the next several months.
The coroner’s office says they designed the wall to have room on the back as well.
They’re predicting they’ll be able to put names on the wall for 15 more years until it’s full.